CV, the Wine Guy, talks Biodynamic Wines from Oregon

SVFC_CV Wine Guy_BiodynamicBiodynamic: adj. — a spiritual-ethicial-ecological approach to agriculture, food production, and nutrition.

Biodynamic wines take the concentrated notice of terroir (the geography, geology, and climate of a wine region) to a whole new level. When grapes are grown biodynamically, the wine maker sees the vineyard as an ecosystem: not just the vines, but the soil beneath them — an organism in its own right — the air and water quality, flora and fauna in the area, the cosmos — all of these are growing together interdependently.

There is also the notion that farming can (should?) be attuned to the spiritual element of the cosmos, perhaps linking planting or harvesting in time with lunar cycles or planetary positions.

The immense and careful attention biodynamic growers pay to their vines can’t be anything but good, or, at the very least, interesting. If a wine is biodynamic, it is also organic (but still contains sulfites). Biodynamic wines are the best of the best. This week, we’re going to focus on biodynamic wines from Oregon. The two main varietals for Oregon are Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. We talked last week about the flavor profiles and structure of Pinot Noir (and how well it pairs with salmon); let’s focus on Pinot Gris this week.

Read more CV, the Wine Guy, talks Biodynamic Wines from Oregon …

Skagit Brew Corner: Ten Fidy Chili

SVFCTenFTrophyBeer has a long history of making good things better. And brews have been used to flavor sausages for many a moon.

The Co-op now offers our own award-winning Imperial Stout Chili Sausage in the Meat Department and you won’t want to miss it. For the month of October, it’s on sale in bulk (casing free) for $6.99 per lb.

Not only is our fresh, handmade Imperial Stout Chili Sausage hearty, smoky, spicy, and delicious, it also won 1st place at the 3rd Annual “Chili King of Lynnwood” cook-off earlier this year. Competing against 24 other breweries, Oskar Blues Brewery teamed up with our Co-op Meat Department staff and Meat & Seafood Manager Galen to create a massively flavorful sausage made from Oskar Blues’ Ten Fidy Imperial Stout, Beeler’s Pure Pork (hormone and antibiotic free, all vegetarian fed), and our proprietary blend of seasonings.

SVFCTenFChiliIn honor of the Meat Department’s most recent awesomeness, we’ve brought Ten Fidy Imperial Stout from Oskar Blues Brewing of Boulder, CO back to our beer aisle. A seasonal release, this mammoth stout busts out big flavors of caramel, chocolate, and roasted coffee beans. Loaded with 98 IBUs and a heady 10.5% alcohol by volume content, Ten Fidy benefits from enormous amounts of two-row malt, chocolate malt, roasted barley, flaked oats, and hops that have to be hand-loaded into the mash tun. A truly boundary-stretching brew, pair it with a chocolate-rich dessert like chocolate truffles or brownies.

Posted by Claire

The Bounty of Bulk: A Cup of Comfort

SVFCBulkTea1Welcome to the second installment of our series on getting to know the Skagit Food Co-op’s Bulk Department. Did you know the Co-op stocks over 200 individual items in our Herb and Spices section alone? It’s true — click here for a complete listing of bulk herbs, spices, and tea blends.

With cold and flu season in full swing, visit us and you’ll find a wide variety of seeds, dried flowers, roots and other items to help boost your immunity.*

When you visit the Herb and Spice counters, consult our handy alphabetical index of items to find what you’re looking for. Save money and packaging by bringing your own reusable container from home. Please weigh it on our scale prior to filling it and record the tare weight so you are charged accurately. Mark down the 4 digit code of your item and you’re all set.

Our selection makes it a snap to create your own blends of dried cooking herbs, tea brewing herbs, and other spices. We stock over a dozen pre-blended black, green, and herbal teas made with organic and fair trade ingredients. Or go your own way and make a customized blend of medicinal herbs to combat the symptoms of the fall and winter sniffles.

SVFCBulkTea2Here are a pair of basic recipes for homemade herbal healers:

Elderflower Power Blend

  • 2 teaspoons Bulk Elder Flowers (#7050)
  • 2 teaspoons Elder Berries (#7051)
  • 16 oz. purified water

Boil water and steep elderflowers and berries in water for 10 minutes.

Give your body the benefits of elderflowers and elderberries (Sambucus nigra), used for centuries in folk medicine. Flowers and berries of the Elder plant are commonly used to make a syrup to treat the flu, alleviate allergies, and boost overall respiratory health. Medical research has shown elderflowers to have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as to be good sources of vitamin C and a powerful antioxidant flavonoid called quercetin. They have a mild floral taste that is used to flavor wines and cordials.*

Soothing Throat Tonic

Slippery Elm Powder (#7099) is a potent powder made from the inner part of Slippery Elm tree bark. It’s a demulcent, expectorant, diuretic, nutritive, and demollient. Herbalists use it to treat irritation of the mucous membrane of the stomach, intestines, and throat. Slippery Elm can help settle the stomach and promote sleep.

Dissolving 1 teaspoon of powder in 4 oz. of water, the Slippery Elm tree bark will thicken and become, well, slippery. This bark is the main active ingredient in Thayer’s Throat Lozenges.*

Want a tried and true tea recipe made with local and organic herbs? Try Dona Flora’s Cold Comfort Tea Blend (#7049). Herbalist Beth Hailey has spent decades growing food and medicinal herbs. Her Cold Comfort Tea blend is a wonderfully balanced blend of peppermint, clover, alfalfa, chamomile, rose hips, fenugreek, marshmallow, licorice, and angelica. For a cup of comfort: brew 1 tablespoon Cold Comfort tea in 8oz. of water. Steep for 5 minutes, sip, and relax.

*Note: Please consult your health care provider before trying any of these items, especially if you are pregnant or nursing. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These items are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Posted by Claire

Cheese Whisperer: Delice-ious

SVFCMonSireTripBrieGet your fix of ooey-gooey goodness at the Co-op’s Specialty Cheese Island with a wedge of Le Delice de Mon Sire, an imported French triple cream brie. Regularly $17.99 per lb, it’s now on super sale for $11.99 per lb!

Le Delice de Mon Sire is a mild, melt-in-your mouth, creamy brie-style cheese. It hails from the Burgundy region of France and is a cousin to the ever-popular Delice de Bourgogne and Saint Andre Triple Cream cheeses.

Le Delice de Mon Sire has a delicate, powdery white rind and ripens from the outside in. Its center paste is dense and buttery and gets softer towards the edges. Made from pasteurized cow’s milk, Le Delice de Mon Sire combines the firmness of Saint Andre with the gentle lactic tang of Delice de Bourgogne. Delice de Mon Sire is an ideal component of cheese plates, especially dessert cheese plates. Accessorize it with toasted Marcona almonds, dried figs, and fresh apple slices.

Treat yourself and pair it with a sparkling white wine, such as an Italian dry Prosecco or tropically flavorful sweet Moscato d’Asti. For beer lovers, try complimenting Le Delice de Mon Sire’s richness with a spiced seasonal pumpkin ale from Dogfish Head Brewery or locally crafted Pumpkin Spice Seattle Cider.

Bon Appetit!

Posted by Claire

CV, the Wine Guy, talks Pinot Noir, Salmon & Cedar!

photo‘Tis the (short-lived) season for fall salmon! This week, CV guides us in the right direction: not just with wine pairings for salmon, but also with his recommendations and recipe for cooking salmon. This just in: the typical wine pairing for salmon is… Pinot Noir! Yes, white fish and shellfish are best with white wines, but for salmon, the first choice pairing is Pinot Noir.

Pinot Noir #1: Shooting Star 2012
Wine Maker: Jed Steele
Geographic Region: Lake County, California (north of Sonoma & Napa counties)
Price: $13.99

CV Says: Lake County is considered to be the step-son of California’s wine growing regions. It is a famous wine-growing region, just not as famous as Napa or Sonoma. One of the neat things about Lake County is that the land was/is very affordable in comparison to land in Napa or Sonoma, so wine makers can afford to offer their wines at a better price. This is the second label by a famous wine maker, Jed Steele. Shooting Star is considered to be the “declassified” bottle of Pinot Noir from Jed Steele. He makes a good deal of Pinot Noir, and this is the second-tier, lower price point option.

Pinot Noir has subtle flavors of cherry and strawberry. It’s a very dry wine. Pinot Noirs are medium-bodied wines, and that’s one of the reasons why it goes so well with salmon — because it has a very delicate flavor. It won’t overpower the salmon.

Pinot Noir #2:
Line 39
Wine Maker:
Bob Borman
Geographic Region:
Central Coast, CA

CV Says: Line 39 is a value-driven Pinot Noir, from Sonoma Coast, California. As a general rule, Pinot Noirs are more expensive wines, across the board. This is made by a fellow by the name of Bob Borman, who’s been involved in value wines for over 30 years, and Pinot Noir is his specialty. He’s not a grower; he’s a wine maker and blender. He will buy grapes and make wine, or buy Pinot Noirs that have already been made, and then blend them. That’s a very, very, very big business — a tremendous amount of wine on the market is made that way. His job is to get the grapes, or wines, and make a new, more affordable wine. Making or blending wines in this way makes more expensive varieties more accessible and available to the masses. Bob Borman makes several varieties of wine, both white and red, but he is particularly known for his Pinot Noir.

This is a light- to medium-bodied, fruit-driven wine. This will have a nice cherry, strawberry flavor, with a great finish.

+ A note about the region of choice for these two wines: If we went with our friends from Oregon (where Pinot Noir rules the land), we’d been looking at much more expensive bottles. Staying in California allows us to feature more accessible, affordable Pinot Noirs. Read more CV, the Wine Guy, talks Pinot Noir, Salmon & Cedar! …